This year marks the 20th anniversary of Ta Ethne. From humble beginnings in 1995 using Prodigy dial-up to start what was then called Discernment Ministries to partnerships across the globe, God has blessed us with many opportunities. We started by offering Personal Investigative Bible Studies free to any who wanted one and writing articles on the dangers of heresies in the church. Growth was slow and while many audio and written resources were produced and distributed we seemed to struggle just to stay afloat. 2004 saw the lowest point of our existence. Grand were the plans that year, with the biggest being a Bible Institute. Courses were prepared, instructors lines up, a building secured and a launch date was set. An online option was offered and we enrolled our first students from India. Then the wheels came off one by one, the institute never materialized, and we had to see where we missed God’s leading.
From that soul searching moment came 2005 and a new direction began. A trip to East Asia unexpectedly led us to work with the underground church and started a partnership that is still running. That was followed by training opportunities in Malaysian churches and the rest was history. Books started to be written and made available, speaking engagements started happening and our role of helping to train church leaders across the globe was cemented.
A couple years ago we relaunched with the name Ta Ethne, feeling it better fit our purpose. A move to the Southeast US was also accomplished and new resources continue to be developed. God willing, in the coming year, we will begin production on an audio version of The 180 Project and begin work on some new resources.
Continue to lift us up in prayer as we look forward to serving another 20, 30, 40 years or longer. Partner with us and spread the word. Have us come for a seminar or conference or help donate so we can continue to offer resources free to churches in other countries. We have invitations to go and speak in India and the Philippines and simply are waiting for the funds to come in. God has blessed us these many years and we are confident He will continue to bless us in the future.
During the recent transition from Montana to Florida, we saw God’s blessings in many ways. We braved flooded highways, mechanical problems, stormy weather and the pressure of a time schedule, yet found wonderful people across the country willing to help. In South Dakota we needed to replace an axle. After limping into Sioux Falls late one Sunday evening, we faced the prospect of finding a good mechanic that could fit us in on short notice. The good folks at Graham Tires got us in, fixed the axle and had us back on the road before 10:00. Great customer care and good service, at a very reasonable cost.
All through Missouri and Arkansas we were either running just ahead or behind the storms that generated the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma. We stopped early a couple times to allow the weather to pass and praised God for the earlier delays that kept us out of the storms. Leaving Memphis, we ran into torrential rains that forced us to stop for the night in Mississippi instead of making it to Alabama like we had planned for the night. The next day, we continued our journey and had suffered a blow out on the trailer we were pulling. Had we undergone this the night before instead of stopping it would have been very dangerous. A kind gentleman stopped to help us change the tire even though he was on his way to the hospital to see his wife and the new baby they had that was born the night before. How grateful we were for his help and the blessing of meeting him.
After a day’s delay finding new trailer tires we continued our journey. Because of leaving late, we could not make it into Jacksonville on schedule. We stopped for the night chafing at yet another delay. How foolish we were. Continuing the next day, we had just left the interstate when a tire blew on our vehicle. This was unexpected, as they were brand new and we had not run over anything on the road. We found out later it was a defective tire. After 3 hours we managed, with the help of a tow truck operator, to get the tire off and a spare on. We limped back to the nearest town for a new tire and then headed to Jacksonville, arriving about four in the afternoon.
Now we were really frustrated with it being late on a Friday Memorial Day weekend. We had missed meeting with our Realtor due to arriving three days later than scheduled and the holiday. I was really not looking forward to spending extended time in a hotel after a long, exhausting trip. On the way into town, we had seen a sign advertising a home for rent. We called the number, met with the owners (who had advertised just hours earlier) and moved in the next day. Only God could work out a place to stay within 24 hours of arriving in a city. While temporary, we are grateful to have a place to stay that is convenient and time to look for a permanent space for Ta Ethne to grow, as well as for our family to live. God has shown us His timing, His blessings and taught us a valuable lesson of trusting in Him.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
It is traditional to make a list of things you are thankful for at Thanksgiving. Most of the time we focus on material things we have been blessed with. Some go deeper, thanking God for spiritual blessings bestowed during the year. Thanks for friends, family, health and employment top many lists. One category that gets left off many lists is arguably the most important. We should thank God for the things He has taken away from us.
In order to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind as commanded means we have to give up any and everything that obscures Him in our lives. Praise be to Him that He works in our lives to conform us to the image of His Son. To do this, He many times has to prune away those things that hinder us from reaching that goal. It may be that He has helped you to kick a destructive habit, end an unhealthy relationship, stop a hurtful lifestyle. It may be that He has forced you to accept the death of a loved one in order to lean only on Him. He may have taken away your job in order to prove to you that He is sufficient to meet all your needs.
As you make your list this year, how about including thanks for the things taken away that has made your faith stronger? I guarantee that it will surprise you what the Lord has done.